Men – step away from the A*Men and your L’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme Eau Extreme, and pick up a bottle of this little beauty instead. This is sexy stuff. Bond-T by Sammarco is just the type of release you hope to see coming out of indie perfumers on their first outing – a smart re-thinking of common tropes, in this case the hyper-masculine patchouli-cocoa-tonka bean combo.
This one does everything right. It pairs a brown, dusty cocoa note with a dirty, castoreum-driven leather – and manages to come off as its own beast. Although it shares similarities of tone with Serge Lutens’ wonderful Borneo 1834, there is none of Borneo’s oriental richness. Rather, underneath the cocoa-patchouli skin of Bond-T there beats a heart of what smells like a wad of fruity, slightly fermented tobacco leaves and grimy leather. It smells rich and tannic, and just off-putting enough to stop it from being fully gourmand.
Further on, the scent dries out, and I start to wonder if it’s tobacco I smell, or instead black China tea. It is astonishing – at this stage, the perfume really does smell as if I put my nose into a tin of the blackest tea leaves from China – those utterly matt black, loose-leaf ones. Tea leaves do have some of the bone-dry, tannic qualities I get from tobacco leaves – and a sort of leathery, smoked flavor.
Of course, there is no tobacco or tea or even leather listed as notes in Bond-T. All those notes have been conjured up by the leathery castoreum, and maybe even the osmanthus, which in China is commonly used as a flavoring for tea. Either way, I really like this dry, leathery tobacco smell, and find it similar to the effect that Tabac Aurea from Sonoma Scent Studio achieves – a full arc of notes ranging from wet and fruity/fermented to bone-dry, tannic, and almost dirty.
At the end, a nice surprise – the tonka and vanilla smooth out the earthy patch notes, leveling it off into an incredible “malted chocolate powder” sort of aroma. At this point, it smells more like Ovaltine than a full-on chocolate patch. Longevity is pretty great, too.
I don’t hesitate to say that although a woman (including this woman) would have no trouble in wearing Bond-T should she wish, it is a very masculine take on the cocoa-patch quasi-gourmand theme. I like it on my own skin – but I can’t help thinking that this would be very sexy on a man’s skin.
It could be summed up a little lazily as a cross between Borneo 1834 and Tabac Aurea (with a teeny bit of Mona di Orio’s Cuir thrown in for good measure), but I think I will just say that men who have been looking at stuff like Dior Privee’s Feve Delicieuse, A*Men (original), A*Men Pure Havane, and LIDGE might want to consider this as a great alternative in the patchouli-tonka-cocoa field.
Sammarco's fragrances are great examples that you don't need much complexity to deliver something noteworthy. None of their offerings is particularly complex as they all revolve around very few accords and essential notes list. This doesn't mean they're simplistic…au contraire.
Bond T makes no exception and deliver a top quality earthy patch paired to a dark, unsweetened cocoa note. It has an overall headshop-vibe and yet, somehow, it avoids speaking of bongs. The pairing with the cocoa, despite not being very original, is handled with class and avoids the gourmand aspect of this combo by enhancing the general darkness of this fragrance. Subtle and yet remarkable animalic notes serve as an essential element of disturb while the fragrance shines in all its brooding earthiness.
Think about a unlimited budget, high-end version of Borneo 1834 minus the opening and with smooth leathery animalics thrown in the mix and you're there.
Whenever I hear the words "Chocolate" and "Gourmand" when it comes to perfumes I always make a quick turn, it's simply not my genre. I tried "Bond-T" (What does the name mean?) and was prepared to dislike it, but no, it’s great! Cocoa and Patchouli (together with Tonka and Vanilla) provide the framework for a very interesting note that is embedded in this frame. It could be Osmanthus which is listed as a note but I’m not sure because I don’t know how Osmanthus really smells, it could be also a facet of Patchouli. Anyway, this note smells at times like Tea and at times like Tobacco, and sometimes like the both together! This nice play of notes gives the perfume an incredible depth and sensuality: This amazing Tea/Tobacco-note is floating in a sea of Chocolate! The whole perfume is slightly animalic and smooth as a baby’s bottom. I don’t like the word "sexy" and I normally don’t use it but "Bond-T" definitely is a sexy fragrance! Like the other Sammarco-perfumes it's suitable for men and women. Being all-natural it can't compete with synthetic fragrances when it comes to longevity etc., but that's the price you have to pay if you want to experience a high-quality natural perfume! Me? I'm sold as "Bond-T" is so far the only Gourmand-perfume that I like!